Sunday, 11 December 2011

Looking for maximum points for Christmas, but what about the January Sales?

January is fast approaching and although the rumour mill hasn't quite cranked into gear just yet you can be sure that clubs will have been looking at potential targets for a while now. Do City need to get the wallet out in January?

I think we all know that whether they do or not will largely depend on who leaves and for how much as City reign in the spending done over the last few seasons. Mancini has stated as much several times in press conferences in recent weeks.

There are still a few players who aren't on loan at the moment who aren't really part of Mancini's plans for the Club. Top of that list are Tevez and Bridge. One refuses to even acknowledge he has a contract and wants to leave, the other seemingly just wants to pick up his paycheck and go shopping.

We'll look at each position in the squad and try to assess where City may want to strengthen when the transfer window opens and a brief thought about options at the end of the season. This is all just my opinion of course so feel free to leave comments with your own thoughts.

  • Joe Hart
  • Costel Pantilimon
  • Stuart Taylor
Questions were asked when City announced the season long loan of Pantilimon as we knew very little about him other than what we had seen in the Europa League last season. I do believe that he is a good stand-in keeper if the unthinkable should happen to Joe Hart. I really can't see any ins or outs happening with this position in January.

With Pantilimon only being on loan City will need to look at getting in another keeper capable of covering. Maybe that player will be Pantilimon, he's certainly got the right attitude and is about as good a keeper as you'll get who will stay at a club knowing he is likely to be 2nd choice for most of the season.

  • Micah Richards
  • Pablo Zabaleta
  • Nedum Onuoha
Micah has made the RB position his own this season and is almost everyone's automatic first choice for the role.

Zaba has predominantly been used for European games this season and will no doubt now feature in the Europa League. Lets face it, he's not a bad deputy to have is he?

Nedum really isn't in any sort of favour with Mancini and if the right offer comes in it may be tempting to let him go. However, given the recent injury worries in the fullback positions which saw Zaba play in left-back against Arsenal I don't think he will be going until the summer.

  • Gael Clichy
  • Aleks Kolarov
  • Wayne Bridge
Both Gael and Aleks have shared the left-back position this season, with Gael getting the more time between the two of them. Although it might not look it at times, Kolarov has stepped up his game from last season in both defensive and offensive duties. He is still better going forward than defending though.

Wayne Bridge, well, what do you say about this player... Turned down a move to Celtic in the summer because they couldn't match City's wages and now he is usually sat at home or seen swanning about town with his missus. Not bad work if you can get it. City will be desperate to get Bridge off the wage bill and pocket anything they can for him. I'll start the bidding at some lint and an old scrap of chewing gum rapper.

With Zabaleta's ability to play left-back should both Gael and Aleks get injured we wont be seeing anyone coming for this position.

  • Vincent Kompany
  • Joleon Lescott
  • Stefan Savic
  • Kolo Toure
  • Dedryk Boyata*
The centre-back pairing pretty much picks itself at the moment. Kompany and Lescott are one of the best defensive partnerships in the country. They provide a balance to the back line and both complement each other's ability.

Stefan Savic will take some time to get used to life in the Premier League and his performances so far have proved that. That being said, he has shown enough potential to suggest he can make it in England once he is settled.

I don't think many would have thought it 12 months ago but we may be seeing the back of Kolo come January. Rumours have circulated about PSG's interest in the Ivory Coast international and his recent interview with So Foot has not helped restore his image since his drugs ban ended. Although he privately denied ever saying what was reported, So Foot have declared they have a recording of the interview and will take legal action should Kolo publicly denounce it. Message to Kolo; If you want to stay, get your head down, get fit and zip it.

With the promising Dedryk Boyata coming back from loan at the end of the season, unless Kolo is sold in January, I doubt we will see any more defenders coming into the club.

Midfield (Holding/Box-to-Box)
  • Yaya Toure
  • Gareth Barry
  • James Milner
  • Nigel De Jong
  • Owen Hargreaves
  • Abdul Razak
The centre of midfield is pretty much covered in all honesty. Looking down that list of players you'd be a brave person to say we need yet another player who can play in the centre of the park.

Yaya Toure will be missing for a few weeks in January but even so, I don't think that warrants going out and spending anything on a 'replacement' as I have seen some say. Ok Hargreaves will probably never be fit enough to put in back to back games, and Razak is still developing as a player but that still leaves Barry, Milner and De Jong.

Mancini will have to rotate these 3 and include Hargreaves and Razak where possible to keep everyone 100% through January and part of February.

Midfield (Attacking)
  • David Silva
  • Samir Nasri
  • Adam Johnson
  • Vladimir Weiss*
This is the position that City really need to be careful with. David Silva has become such an influential player that it is difficult to replace him should he have to miss games. Samir Nasri offers a lot of creativity although he has yet to really find his feet in the squad.

The real area City lack is options with wide men. Mancini is a great admirer of Adam Johnson but it is clear he still has much of his game to develop. Johnson is also City's only dedicated winger. Milner can and has played out wide but he isn't a winger.

A lot depends on what Mancini really thinks about Vladimir Weiss and whether he feels the Slovakian has enough talent to step up to the plate next season after his loan spell in Spain. I'm undecided about Weiss, he has obvious ability but lacks consistency. He could be the answer to City's lack of wingers but it's 50/50 as to whether Mancini trusts him enough not to bring in another wide man in January.

City do have a number of very talented young players coming through the ranks who fit into the attacking mid and winger roles. Juan Roman and Denis Suarez are both technically gifted young Spaniards and Alex Henshall Jeremy Helan and Albert Ruznak are all pacey wide-men.

All 5 have huge potential and if Mancini feels he needs another winger come January I hope he doesn't pick up one that's so young that it would hamper the chances of these young men in the future.

  • Sergio Aguero
  • Edin Dzeko
  • Mario Balotelli
  • Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely*
  • John Guidetti*
  • Luca Scapuzzi*
As with the centre of midfield, City have enough options at the front to be able to leave it as it is. Given the options in positions behind the main striker only a long term injury to 2 of the players before the end of January would have City looking to bring in cover.

I've not included Tevez in the list for quite obvious reasons, he clearly doesn't want to play for City and will do as he damn well pleases. That situation has been done to death and the Club will sort that out as they see fit.

The 3 other strikers named on the list are players with the potential to step into a 4th striker spot next season. It'll be a 3-way fight between them, although none of them will have to be included in the 25 man squad due to their ages so they may have another season to prove their worth before Mancini makes a decision on them.

There are a lot of players out on loan that I haven't included. This is basically because I don't think any of them have a future at  anymore, which is unfortunate for some of the younger players as if the club was in the same place it was 4 years ago they would likely be breaking into the first team quite easily.

All in all, when it comes to January, I really don't think we actually need to bring any players in (on loan or bought) for the majority of positions unless certain players end up with long term injuries or are sold on. If Kolo leaves, expect another defender to come in. If the midfield (holding or attacking) is hit with any long term injuries expect a loan signing.

I have seen it mentioned several times recently and no disrespect to anyone who has considered it, but the idea that City will actually go out and buy a player(s) to cover either or both Kolo and Yaya while they're on international duty is more than a little silly. It's makes absolutely no sens,e football or business-wise, what so ever.

You wouldn't expect any other manager to go out and buy a permanent replacement for a player who was out for 4-5 weeks with injury, so why would Mancini buy replacements for players off on international duty for the same length of time? As mentioned, the only way Mancini will by a replacement for Kolo is if he's leaving the club, not because he's on international duty. The same applies for Yaya.

There is a possibility that Mancini will look for another winger just so he has a player other than AJ to choose from but I can't see any more being done until the summer.

Don't be fooled by all the transfer rumours. This time 12 months ago their were around 30 players linked with moves to City and Mancini only opted to buy Edin Dzeko due to having only 2 strikers who were deemed good enough at the time.

Knowing me though, I'll be completely wrong.

Twitter: @MikeWalsh1880
Facebook: David Silva's Left Foot


  1. Once again a brilliant insight to the club and players, I'd include young Suarez in the Attacking midfield role, from what I've seen he could quite possibly hold his own in the Silva role for a 'one off match'..;)

  2. If we'd have seen a little more of him in the first team up to now I probably would have included him in the list, Dodo.

    No doubt he's an absolutely fantastic talent for the future who we will hopefully see more of at some point this season.

  3. Spot on Michael and another excellent article,which,is always a pleasure to read and beats my daily,"Googlefest"..

  4. Agree with all the comments. Great article. I would like to see more of John Guidetti when he returns from his loan. He's scored a few goals and could be a great prospect.


Comments containing abusive, foul or discriminatory language will not be published.